Magic Trick: Gold-fish and Ink Trick

This is another instance of astonishing and inexplicable effect produced by most simple means. A large globe (not a bowl, such as is used in the foregoing trick), full of ink, is produced. The performer ladles out some of the ink and sends it round on a saucer for examination. He also dips a white card into the globe, and brings it out dripping with ink. After this, he merely spreads a handkerchief over the globe, and instantly removes it, when the ink is found to have disappeared and its place supplied by pure water and gold-fish.

The preparation for this trick is as follows: Procure a piece of black silk, in width about four-fifths of the height of the globe, and sufficiently long to go once round it on the inside. Sew the two ends together, so that a broad band is formed. To any part of the top edge fasten a piece of thin wire, which blacken. With this silk line the inside of the globe, and then pour in water exactly to the height of the top of it. The wire must be turned over the edge of the globe a little, so as to be easily found. When the globe thus prepared is brought on, it is impossible to tell it from one full of ink. The ladle, which will be best procured at a conjuring repository, is not an ordinary one, but has a hollow handle communicating with the bowl by means of a tiny hole. This hole is made where the stem joins the bowl, and at the upper end of the handle is another small hole. The hollow handle is filled with ink, and a finger or thumb placed over the uppermost hole, thus preventing the fluid from running out. When the performer puts the ladle into the globe, as if dipping some ink out, the thumb or finger should be removed from the upper hole, and the ink will then flow from the handle into the bowl of the ladle. The methods for filling the handle with ink are various. One way is to fill the bowl of the ladle with ink, and then apply suction to the hole at the other end. This is a very simple method, but, unless the person who applies the suction has a decided taste for ink, it is not a pleasant one to adopt. Another method is to exhaust the air from the handle by means of suction, and then put the ladle in ink; but this is even worse than the other. The way I get over the difficulty is by making the upper hole, which is never seen, large enough to admit the nozzle of a very small syringe, by means of which article the ink can be injected into the handle with cleanliness and dispatch. In purchasing a ladle, care should be taken to procure as plain a one as possible. A fancy ladle excites suspicion. If the conjuror does not mind a little expense, he will possess a most perfect article if he purchase a cheap plated sauce ladle, and then have the handle and stem fitted with a hollow back. This will be entirely free from suspicion. The card which is dipped in the supposed ink is simply a piece of card, about an inch and a half wide and a few inches long, with about half of one side of it blackened with ink or paint. The white side is shown to the audience, and it is then turned over with the peculiar twist illustrated in "Drawing-room Magic," Figs. 19 and 20. It is then actually dipped into the water and brought out with the blackened side towards the audience. The water dripping from it will appear to the audience to be ink, and the deceptive twist can be again given to show that both sides are blackened.

In apparently taking out ink with the ladle, and dipping the card in, care must be taken that the manner of the performer does not too forcibly impress upon the minds of the audience that he is over anxious they should believe there is actually ink in the globe. The ladling out and dipping the card in must be done tolerably briskly; for, if the audience have time, some of the members may suggest, what is only reasonable, that the performer should show the bowl round bodily. The trick is finished by a large, dark-coloured cloth or handkerchief being thrown over the globe, and instantly removed, the performer taking care to grasp the wire, which will, of course, be on his side of the globe, through the cloth, and so cause the silk lining to come away inside the cloth or handkerchief. I do not believe in introducing rock work into the globe, as it gives the audience the idea of something fixed, and they thus obtain a groundwork to start upon. Water and fish are enough to manufacture from ink, in all conscience. The trick is also very effective when performed in a small way with a tumbler.

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